Henry Coker

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Henry Coker (born December 24, 1914 in Dallas , † November 23, 1979 in Los Angeles ) was an American jazz trombonist of swing and modern jazz.

Coker studied music at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. He did not start with the trombone, his first instrument was the harp, for which he had been bullied in school. In addition to the trombone, he played the piano to practice.

Coker's first professional engagement was with John White in 1935, over two years he was able to build a reputation, and was therefore hired by Nat Towles for his most leading Territory Band from Omaha, the midwest of the USA, with whom he worked from 1937 to 1939 . He then worked with Monk McFay in Hawaii , but came back home when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

He spent the mid-1940s with various studio and recording jobs and in bands led by Benny Carter (1944-1946), where he gained experience, Eddie Heywood (1946-1947), or Illinois Jacquet (1951). He also played with Charles Mingus during this time , which is recorded on the West Coasting recording . After a two-year illness he played with Sonny Rollins around 1951 . In 1952 he joined the Basie Band, a gig that would last a decade until 1963. He played hundreds of challenging and good-sounding solos. By working with Basie he recommended himself to many jazz fans, but most of all to his trombonist colleagues. Coker did not steal the show from anyone, he shared the solos with Al Gray and left the leading voice to the newcomer Grover Mitchell , partly as a prank but also to show what a great sound the young player had. The trombonist and band leader Tommy Dorsey was impressed by Coker's playing when he once joined the band and played with Coker's instrument, then gave him his instrument as a more appropriate one to play and then gave it to him. “That's a good horn, but I don't think it's for you. Try that horn. Play it and see if you like it , ”he said to Coker.

Since then, Coker has played this shorter, smooth 3 B trombone with a 19.05 cm wide bell with a clear sound, next to a larger 6 H Conn. He had to relearn for the shorter tuning slide. He says it is customary among trombonists to tune the trombone slightly up to the cross-tone side for a more radiant sound.

He played with Tony Bennett and Sarah Vaughan . In the meantime he still had the opportunity to play with rhythm and blues bands like Johnny Otis and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson .

Coker toured a lot. He opted for studio and recording work more in the 1960s. At that time, he was living in New York and working extensively on the East Coast until 1966 when he joined Ray Charles , with whom he worked regularly until 1971. Until his death in the mid-70s, Coker was busy with film and television music in Los Angeles, but he played with Ray Charles and Count Basie again in the meantime. The drummer, singer and band leader Osie Johnson dedicated a solo to the trombonist on Cokernut Tree on the album Osie´s Oasis.

Coker played in the rare line-up of ten trombones on JJ Johnson's Trombones Incorporated , including Bennie Green , Frank Rehak, Eddie Bert , Benny Powell , Melba Liston and Bobby Brookmeyer .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Benny Carter practiced with him and rewrote the pieces extra difficult for him.
  2. ^ A b Interview with Jazz Professional, Anglo-American Exchange 1964 with Don Lusher
  3. ^ Anglo-American Exchange 1964 with Don Lusher, next page
  4. Originally published on Fantasy 1955 and reissued by Period 1999
  5. ^ Skeleton from the All Music Guide